Like A Rock
As I came back to myself, the suite was disappointingly quiet… I couldn’t be sure where Sookie and the children had gone, but I didn’t wonder for long…
The sound of the elevator doors was the only warning I had before the door to the suite was opened… I could hear three heartbeats. I could hear them moving about in the commons. If they were communicating, they were doing so telepathically… I was actually amused by their ‘nothing’ until Sookie came into our room.
A white bikini and a sheer wrap riding low on her hips… I couldn’t have been prouder of myself for thinking of the bikini clause to our next holiday.
She held her arms out and raised her eyebrows. “I found a beach shop a few doors down… It’s slim pickings for bathing suits this time of year in Shreveport, but I hit the jackpot here. What do ya think?”
“I think we should move to Miami.”
She giggled and walked toward the bathroom. “They have everything. I got suits for the whole family… annnnnnnd… I bought a ton of sand dollars at a tourist trap… I thought we could paint them gold to use as those tokens you mentioned, or write scavenger hunt clues on them…”
I left the bed, planning to offer my assistance with her shower, but my fucking phone rang… it was probably better that way as far as time was concerned.
I assumed Bobby was calling to leave an update, but the phone number wasn’t familiar. Before the phone was to my ear, my caller said, “Eric?”
Wyannie certainly hadn’t wasted any time.
I chuckled, “Calling to make jokes about my pet?”
“I’m calling to claim her. I’m asking, as a personal favor, that you be kind to her.”
I could have had more fun with his misunderstanding if he didn’t sound so unusually bothered… Wouter was practically unflappable.
“I was assuming Wyannie called you to gossip about the news of my pet… You’re concerned about Klaasje.”
He growled, “It was bad enough when that cocksucker gave her to Teague as payment for an errand… I’m not pleased to hear she’s been passed… What did you do for Teague?”
“Nothing. He’s a loner. I’m surprised he hasn’t left her behind already. She’s been with him for over a decade as I understand it. ”
“He. Just. Offered. Her. To. You!”
“And Connelly, Edward and Richard… You know how he is, Wouter. He’s the biggest prick of all of us, but he didn’t ask in her presence and he actually had it in him to sugarcoat his reasons for releasing her to me.”
“Why did you offer to take her then? Were you the last to think of an excuse not to?”
“Actually, I thought of a use for her…” He growled. I wasn’t even trying to fuck with him, just keep up with his questions. “Teague said she’s been a midwife since she was alive. There’s a practicing Supernatural doctor and a large pack of Werewolves in my Area. I thought she’d enjoy being able to practice again… She mentioned you were lovers. Do you have an attachment to her?”
“I’ve been attached to her since she was alive, Eric. If I could, I’d have her here with me. She can’t be so close to Halfdan. She’s better off in the States.”
“You know my Maker is largely responsible for why I’m in the States. I certainly understand that.”
“You’re just taking her under your wing? Nothing more?”
“Truly… I doubt Teague’s done anything to inspire any independence. If I had to guess, based on what I’ve seen of her, she takes his disinterest as a cue to try to please him, she increases her efforts, he’s less interested…”
“Eight centuries of being punished for having ideas, preferences, needs… If he wasn’t a fucking King, one of us would have ended Halfdan centuries ago on principle alone.”
“We’ve already noticed she’s too docile for her age… She’ll apprentice under Dr. Ludwig. I’ve arranged for her to use one of my houses. She’ll have her own vehicle. She’ll have space to make her own decisions. Hopefully, Pam’s independence will be inspiring.”
He snorted, “Anyone else might cringe to hear Pam’s rubbing off on someone.”
“There’s a first time for everything… I understand why you don’t want Klaasje in Europe, but you’re welcome to visit my Area to check on her. Just travel in stealth. Sophie-Anne is a paranoid cunt. Klaasje will need an alias because of who her Maker is…”
“Adléta. Adléta Elbe.”
“Elbe? The river?”
“Yes. Tell her I chose it.”
“I’ll do that… We’ll be in Grand Cayman next weekend…”
“In her territory, but not with her. I’m taking my pet and her family on holiday.”
“That sounds like neutral territory to me. If you don’t mind, I’ll meet you there. I won’t intrude on your holiday. I’ll monopolize Klaasje’s time. I’m sure Wyannie will be able to recommend a property.”
“I don’t mind at all. Should I tell her to expect you?”
“No. I want to surprise her… Eric… Thank you. If anything she needs becomes a hardship, tell me.”
“You’ve met Pam, Wouter. If Klaasje becomes more demanding, we’ll consider her stay with me a complete success… text your email address to me so I can send details.”
Yes, as soon as I ended the call, I tried to put together the puzzle pieces… The only situation that seemed to fit was that Wouter had fallen for Klaasje when she was still one of Halfdan’s pets. The only question would have been why Wouter didn’t just take her. I couldn’t imagine why I’d allow someone to take Sookie from me.
In the interest of avoiding wasting time trying to decipher 800-year old motivations, I tossed my phone to the bed and found Sookie in the bathroom. At least I hadn’t missed her shower.
She was standing at the sink filing her nails when I wrapped my arms around her waist.
She turned her head to kiss my cheek and offered, “You make German sound sexy…”
I didn’t even realize I’d been speaking German until Sookie mentioned it.
When I opened my mouth to answer her, I forgot what the question was… I could taste the most incredible sweetness in the air… My fangs dropped so quickly they cut through my lip…
Sookie giggled, “Nevermind,” as I put my nose to her neck. “Your mood’s improving fast.”
“You were sunbathing?”
She hummed, “Glorified napping, but yeah. I spent a couple of hours… Oh my God… are you getting high? Is this what you meant when you mentioned Faeries are intoxicating?”
I growled, “Not the same… this is…” I licked the back of her shoulder and shuddered. “This is incredible…”
“You’re really getting a buzz.”
“I’d rather inhale you than drain a full Faerie… this is…” I pushed my fingers through her hair and tilted her head to the side. “I was already addicted to you, but this… I’m your puppet.”
She snickered, “You really just said that, didn’t you?” and turned around in my arms…
The scent was only stronger under her chin… on her chest… in her cleavage.
Inhaling, licking, trying to remember where I had friends along the equator…
She moved like she was trying to leave me, but I held her still. “Don’t go. I won’t hurt you.”
She pushed her fingers into my hair and pulled my face away from her… and stared back at me for a moment.
“Shut the door…” Once I reached back and pushed the door closed, she continued, “Your nostrils are flared. Your pupils are dilated. Your fangs are down. You’re hard…”
“I won’t hurt you.”
“I know that… but… I don’t want to wait to see how Connelly reacts. That could be awkward.”
When I growled, she sighed, “You needed a shower anyway… Let’s go.”
“Does this make you hungry or just horny…?”
“We’ll get in the sho-”
She pulled one of her hands out of my hair and slapped my cheek.
“Let me finish. We’ll get in the shower and, if you want, I’ll sunbathe for a little bit tomorrow afternoon too.”
She snorted, “What happened to being my puppet?”
“You’re threatening to wash away the sunlight.”
“And promising more later.”
“A whole night.”
“If you had me for a whole night, you’d break me. Let me go.”
Something about that was funny to her, but at least she released my hair. While she laughed, I pushed my nose into her hair and my mouth against her neck.
She finally ordered, “Pinocchio, take me to your suitcase. I have an idea.”
When I straightened my legs, she lifted hers to wrap them around my waist… I was already setting my suitcase on the bed and adjusting to let her move when I realized how accurate my puppet remark had been.
I was too far gone to realize I’d automatically returned to the bathroom (as ordered) when she was finished until I closed the door again.
But then she ordered, “Into the tub. Let’s go…” She spurred her heels against my legs and clicked her tongue.
I growled. “No. Shower.”
She argued, “Yes shower. We don’t have a choice. We have priceless seats for what could possibly be the last game a future Hall of Famer will ever pitch.”
“And you have a million dollars riding on this game…”
“Stop talking. You’re distracting me.”
“Which one of the boys do you think will walk in on us?”
I groaned, “No no no no no no,” against her neck. “Not fair.”
She pulled my hair again to lift my face and her lip was pouted. “I completely agree. It isn’t fair that we discovered Vampire roofies when we can’t enjoy it, but I’m completely willing to play with it later.”
“A sunny day and a babysitter…”
But it was the end of October.
“We’re the ones scheduling everything and we’ll have plenty of people with us who can tend to the boys. Weather permitting, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to get stoned while we’re there.”
“Your scent is phenomenal. I didn’t think it could be more incredible…”
She gave me a chaste kiss and whispered, “Shower.”
“You aren’t just mollifying me…”
She shook her head. “No empty promises. I love that my scent is your favorite drug.”
“Your cum is my second favorite.”
She giggled, “Shower... It’s only a matter of time before the boys come in. My shields are up and you’re in a great mood. They think we’re talking about being shipwrecked.”
I growled at her, but I moved.
I didn’t want to.
I really didn’t want to.
As I stepped into the tub, she sighed, “Do you want to feed, test the taste on my skin with…?”
She tilted her head to the side and giggled, “If we could just stay in for the night, just us, this wouldn’t be a thing… but we’re going to be around other Vampires…”
I stopped preparing her neck just long enough to say, “I know,” but it sounded like a whimper.
She gasped and tightened her legs around me when I bit… and whimpered quietly to herself about waiting.
And the flavor of her skin… the sunlight lacing her sweetened blood was so intensely perfect…
The most incredible thing I’d ever tasted…
I wanted so much more.
While I healed her marking, she started the water and sighed, “As much as I want to be your personal amusement park, I guess I should warn my brothers, huh?”
And keep Cort and Hunter the fuck away from me when they’d been playing in the sun.
I nodded. “They might not respond well to being pinned.”
She giggled, “They could take being tackled, but I think your hard on would be a little off-putting for them.”
I chuckled and lowered Sookie, and as she stepped under the showerhead, I felt as though I was watching her scent swirl down the drain.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t bothered by how short-lived the treat had been… I was too preoccupied by thinking of ways to secure future indulgences.
The little taste I’d had wasn’t enough, but I was beginning to realize there was a trend: there was never enough of what Sookie had to offer.
She passed my soap to me and sighed, “I’m really sorry about the timing, but at least your mood is better… I thought you were going to kill someone while you were on the phone.”
A blatant attempt to distract us from a missed opportunity…
“It wasn’t an infuriating subject matter, more like a maddening one… It was the kind of conversation that leaves you with more questions than answers. Wouter called to claim Klaasje. He confirmed what we already assumed about the relationship she had with her Maker, but he mentioned he’d been attached to her since she was Human…”
She raised her eyebrows, but waited until she was finished washing and rinsing…
As she slid past me to give me control of the shower, she asked, “So did Halfdan steal Wouter’s pet or did Wouter fall for Halfdan’s?”
“I didn’t consider Wouter could have been her Master first… I imagine that would make sense given Halfdan’s general attitude of entitlement.”
“And Klaasje’s absolutely gorgeous. I could completely see her being sought-after.”
“To be fair, she wouldn’t have been considered beautiful. She’s unfashionably thin for her age.”
Sookie sucked air past her teeth. “I forgot about that… guys back then preferred some cushion for the pushin’, right?”
I chuckled, “Something like that, yes… If I had to guess, Wouter was protective of her, but Halfdan considered her to be a toy… Come to think of it, Wouter’s Maker was a slender redhead as well.”
As she reached out of the tub, she asked, “Anna, right? The Queen everyone was really fond of?”
She wrapped herself with a towel, then reached out for another and hugged it while she waited.
“Yes… She mediated so equitably, other monarchs went to her to settle disputes. She was gracious and generous. It was a shock to nearly everyone when she was murdered.”
“But you trust Wouter, right? I mean he wouldn’t have any reason to begrudge you for how you ended up with Klaasje, right?”
“He was guarded at the beginning of the conversation. He should know better than to assume I’d exploit her, but I have to assume he just wanted to hear me say as much.”
“It’s really sweet that he cares enough about her to question you though… And I mean, I’d give him some leeway on that just because of the history they have.”
“There isn’t any reason for leeway. Anna made sure to teach him the art of diplomacy… He’s probably the most tactful king in Europe.”
“Given that Klaasje seems to run her thoughts through several filters before opening her mouth, I’d guess Wouter’s to thank. She isn’t afraid to speak. She’s being careful. She might be a huge help when you’re dealing with the cops. I mean, she’s totally at ease with Humans and you have to admit that Pam comes off as… like the peons are meant for her amusement sometimes.”
I chuckled, “But our new associate, Adléta Elbe…”
She stepped out of the tub and walked towards our room, asking, “Who?”
“Klaasje. I mentioned to Wouter she would need an alias so she doesn’t raise any eyebrows in my Area…”
She gasped, “OhmyGod! Say that again! Her name!”
“Adléta, last name Elbe, right?”
In spite of her accent, or lack thereof, I nodded, waiting to hear the reason for her outburst.
She closed her eyes for a moment before whispering, “My aunt, her ability, I remember that name from her diary.”
“The journal she added her dreams to?”
She nodded. “We didn’t go into her notebooks, but when we saw her writing in them, we’d ask her who she dreamed about… It was usually about us, but once in a while… ‘Adléta the Bohemian’, and there was some rebellious chick named Winifred…”
She nodded. “Do you know someone named Winifred?”
“Pam. It was her Human name.”
Sookie gasped, “Winifred’s from Cumbria. She didn’t want to get married and die of boredom.”
“She told you about Winifred?”
“Well, yeah… she only really humored Jack about starting the journal because, if nothing else, her dreams were high on entertainment value. She joked that she should’ve written novels instead of spending so much time reading.”
“Your Aunt died two years before we met… Why would she have been dreaming about Pam or Klaasje?”
Without warning, she ran through our room and returned from the living room with her cell to her ear. “Hey, need a favor.”
Brandon answered, “Shoot.”
“Go to my place and pull out Aunt Linda’s journals…”
He interrupted, “Awwwwww, come on. We weren’t going to read those yet.”
“Except there’s a legit reason. I just found out she was dreaming about actual people, the older ones. The ones she thought were just because of what she was mulling over or reading before she went to sleep.”
He shouted, “No! Fucking! Way!”
“Way fucking way… Specifically Adléta and Winifred.”
“I remember Adléta… the name stood out and that one happened right after y’all got Hunter… That was when all those old-ass scenes started coming to her… I’m on it. I’ll call as soon-”
Sookie corrected, “Text. Don’t call. I’ll have company soon. We’re an hour ahead of you.”
“Right on. What do you want to know?”
“Brass tacks. I have a feeling Eric and I are going to be diving into the journals as soon as we get home tomorrow night, so just leave them on my bed.”
“K. Text you soon.”
She tossed her phone onto the bed and snorted, “I swear to God, Eric… We had a family meeting after she passed. We treated those notebooks like the Vatican’s secret archives. As curious as we’ve been, we didn’t want to read anything and have it affect how we lived our lives. We agreed on ten years. I mean, she told us little snippets, but… If I’d known…”
“I’m not sure I know what to say… I think I might be gobsmacked.”
I wasn’t even really thinking.
It was one thing to find out I was dating a sunshine-scented telepathic Faerie, but…
Sookie might have broken me.
She shook her hands before turning to leave the room. “Forgive me if I get drunk, but I’m going to be on pins and needles until he calls back.”
While she poured a drink for herself at the kitchenette, I offered, “You’re not alone in your curiosity. The only other Faeries you know are the ones in your family. They’re either endangered or hiding in their realm. A psychic, Sookie, there aren’t many of those.”
She snorted, “Damn if you didn’t step in a snake-pit…”
Cort called from his room, “What happened?”
Oh nothing. Just your dead great-aunt having dreams about Vampires before they were brought over. No big deal.
Sookie answered, “We shouldn’t really discuss it right now…”
He stepped out of his room while he pulled his shirt over his head and crooned, “Must be good if y’all are talkin’ in towels… Surprises maybe?”
She shook her head and breathed, “Family stuff, baby. We’ll talk about it when we’re home.”
He rolled his eyes and scoffed, “Then talk ‘bout surprises then!”
She shook her head. “You’re a spoiled little turd, Corbett Beauregard Stackhouse DuRone. As much fun as I’d have taunting you with secrets, the rest of the family will be making plans too. I think you and Hunter will be going out with Alcide for a couple hours so we can do some serious plotting.”
I offered, “After sunset, I hope.”
She nodded and answered, “Definitely,” and mouthed, “The guys are on the elevator,” as she carried her drink to our room.
I was just behind her, but instead of dressing, I amused myself by watching Sookie dress quickly… and then wondered how she could be just as eye-catching dressed as a Yankees zealot as she was in just a bikini…
She teased me for gawking while she brushed her hair into a ponytail, and when I opened my suitcase, I re-opened Pandora’s Box.
I hadn’t given any thought to what Sookie’s ‘idea’ had been… or even where her bikini had gone, for that matter… I’d been too rapt by her scent.
Rapt… high… stoned… terminology was moot.
I was lost.
But her idea had been to scent my clothing.
She’d tossed her bikini into my suitcase and I had to struggle to remember how she’d removed her suit.
My suitcase was rife with the scent of sunlight.
I should have been more concerned with her secret. I could have taken jeans and a T-shirt from the bottom of my suitcase.
But I opted to take the jeans and a new Yankees T-shirt from the top… and promise her that I’d never become bored with the treat. Ever.
Edward and Richard were still congratulating Sookie for being completely ‘decked out’ when I joined them in the living room… Edward pretended to call the Pope to announce Sookie’s first miracle because I was ‘wearing a team’…
The inside joke was I would have been willing to wear a French maid’s costume complete with garters if it smelled like Sookie.
Anything for more.
In the elevator though… My friends took turns trying to be subtle about the scent of my shirt… They might as well have pressed their noses against me for all the tact they demonstrated. Because I wouldn’t notice them leaning towards me? And the assholes were making it difficult for me to breathe without being noticed.
Mine. My sunshine. My Sookie. They needed to get their own.